Come on, admit it. You’ve been in the back garden, having a kick about, and at least had one go at trying to take a free kick like Cristiano Ronaldo.
He’s not one of the world’s best footballers for no reason, and his knuckleball free kick not only has us amateurs trying to recreate it, but plenty of his fellow professionals as well.
It’s a style that is unique to the Juventus and Portugal forward and in this dedicated guide, we’re going to walk you through the points you need to hit that perfect knuckleball.
What Is A Knuckleball?
It’s a term that has long been associated with Cristiano Ronaldo, but what does it really mean?
A knuckleball free kick is when the ball flies through the air at high speeds, with a wobble motion that makes it unpredictable for goalkeepers to gauge. If it’s hit sweetly and correctly, it should even travel with hardly any spin and ideally, nestle into the top corner of the goal.
The term actually comes from baseball, where the pitchers used a similar type of throw to confuse the batsman.
How To Start
Before you even think about taking a Ronaldo-style free kick in a match situation, you need to know when it’s best used.
Because of the power you need to generate, we advise only using the knuckleball technique when you are taking a free kick that is 25 to 40 yards away from the goal. If you are any closer than 25 yards, it becomes increasingly difficult to get the ball up and over the wall with the necessary dip.
When you watch Crisitano Ronaldo in action, you’ll notice that he likes to take a long run up. To replicate the whole free kick in the same way, once you have placed the ball, take around five long strides back in order to have the kind of run up you need to generate the power.
From there, Ronaldo takes a wide standing stance, before taking his signature deep breath with his eyes transfixed on the ball.
Connecting With The Ball
After you’ve worked out the stance, the crucial bit is connecting with the football in the right way. Something that is often easier said, than done.
To strike the ball sweetly, your standing foot needs to be beside the ball, with the kicking foot then cleanly connecting with the ball along the bone that runs up your foot from the big toe.
As you strike the ball, your kicking leg and knee should rise upwards to help the ball achieve the dipping motion that makes this technique so affective.
All you need to do then, is sit back and enjoy scoring a goal (hopefully!)
Free Kick Tips
In a nutshell, here are the five points to taking a free kick just like Cristiano Ronaldo:
1. Put the ball down and take five strides back.
2. Take a deep breath and decide where you are going to aim.
3. Plant your foot at the side of the ball and hit with the instep of your kicking foot.
4. Let your kicking leg continue in an upward motion in order to create dip and spin.
5. Enjoy the ball hitting the back of the net.
Practice Makes Perfect
Our top tips makes the technique of a knuckleball free-kick seem fairly simple, but the reality is, that it’s all about practice if you want to end up even half as good as Ronaldo.
Getting In On The Action
Have some fun watching your favorite players, including Ronaldo, by digging into the statistics and odds. To help you begin understanding soccer odds, we have outlined some stats on Ronaldo or any other individual player on the field.
You will find stats on Ronaldo are available when Portugal play international games and when he plays in Italia Serie A. Most sports books cover the Italian league and some even have live streams or live updates complete with stats so you can have some fun while the game is in motion.
You can even compete on whether Ronaldo will become top scorer in Italy, while you can also compete on whether he will transfer to PSG as per the latest rumurs, and much more.